Friday, June 27, 2008

Trust Chamber Trials (Fiction Friday)

For Patty Wysong's Fiction Fridays. Go here to read or add to more great fiction: http://pattywysong.blogspot.com/

When one is cuffed and blindfolded, reality does not set in until the door locks and you realize you’re not alone. I’m standing in the middle of a room that could hold more nightmares than anything else in the disciplinary ward.

Long fingers slip into my hair, cold against my head. I am holding my breath before I realize the hands are loosening the knot of the blindfold The cuffs are also removed.

“Welcome.”

The drawl sounds more like a drone and my eyes focus on the startlingly pale face of a man. His hair is a long, flowing ponytail, blacker than the shadows in this room and the same shade as his elegant robes. It is neatly cut to waist-length and his cheeks are so hollow I wonder if he’s starving.

“You are here to repent?” His toneless voice echoed off the darkened walls. “Of your own free will?”

“Do I have a choice?” The eerie room was getting to me.

On the far end, five clear tubes were fixed to the floor. Soft light illuminated them, to show five heart-shaped pink pillows, with five beautiful, crystal-clear gems.

“We always have choices.” He murmured. “Always.” Gliding over to the tubes, he flipped a switch, dissolving the protective shields around them. He picked up each gem and handed them over. “I am to give these to you on one condition.”

“Me? For real?” I was speechless as he poured the gems into my hand.

“You must break them.”

“What?”

“They must be completely useless. Once you are finished, you are free to leave.”

“That’s it?” I stared at him. “I break these and I can go?”

The solemn face bobbed once.

“W-what if they won’t break?”

“Then crush them…” He melted into the shadows, leaving me alone.

I fingered the gems for a minute. They were gorgeous. I threw the first gem. It fell to the ground and bounced. I dropped the remaining gems, glad to see two of them split in half. In the end, I stomped on them to produce the glittery mess. “I’m done!” I called out, backing away as my stomach churned in the way that meant I’d ignored my conscience again.

“Why did you do that?” The note of sadness came through his voice.

“You told me to!” The prickly feeling started at my toes and traveled upwards.

Sorrowful sapphire eyes locked onto me. “You didn’t have to.”

“But you said-”

“Five gems, one for each letter in the word trust.” His head bowed. “That is exactly what you did to the trust we had put in you. There is always a choice…those were priceless.”

“I-I’m sorry.”

“Are you?”

“Yes! I am! I’m really, really sorry!” His gaze shifted from me to the sparkling powder. He stretched one hand and light shimmered from his fingertips. When I could see again, he handed me five perfect gems.

“We place this trust once more in you, child. Prove that you are worthy of it.”

(c)2008 S. Harricharan

Friday, June 20, 2008

Moonlight Magnolia (Fiction Fridays)

For Patty Wysong's Fiction Fridays. Go here to read or add to more great fiction: http://pattywysong.blogspot.com/
It snowed when Mom died. I wish she could've seen it.

She loved snow. The pretty whiteness everywhere like a magical fairy blanket.

I always thought she was silly for saying things like that. Now I'm the one that will be sitting under the magnolia tree at midnight, to make a wish under the moonlight.

When it snowed, she'd bundle me up with a thermos of hot chocolate and we'd run outside in the snow to sit under the tree.

It was always dry and sometimes we'd carry some coals from the woodstove in a bucket to keep warm, or we'd wrap ourselves in giant blankets and huddle close together.

I wish I could say those were fond memories.

Now I see them for what they were. Missed moments with mother. I was too rebellious to see what it cost her to give me such simple pleasures.

I couldn't wait to get away from her, from home, from everything. I thought my life would improve.

I never knew my mother until I left her.

Now I see her in a new light. She must have known what would happen when I left, that's why she never lost touch.

Care packages came every week, packets of hot chocolate, snapshots of magnolia trees, fuzzy socks and new pencils.

She knew all my favorites. I never knew hers. Except for the snow.

I feel like a stranger, visting your graveside every month. I have nothing new to say and only more to regret.

When the packages stopped coming, then I missed them. Then I missed her.

I thought it was a punishment, for never saying 'thank you'. I thought that she'd finally had it.

Until the phone call.

When it came, I wasn't ready. A lifetime of preparation would never have made me ready.

The man on the other end said she was dead. They'd found her under the magnolia tree, wrapped in a blanket, drinking hot chocolate.

They don't know what happened. But that she'd had some sort of attack and though her face was serene and peaceful, her heart had stopped.

She was baking cookies to send for me. But the house burned down. I lost every whisper of her to the ashes.

The firemen didn't find her under the tree until later. They said she were wrapped in my blue quilt.

It's the only thing I have left, besides school books.

The snow is piling up.

I'd better get my boots and coat. The water is heating on the stove. I've saved three of the packets of hot chocolate. Today I'll use them.

Hat, scarf, gloves and boots. I think I have everything. Except my quilt. Can't forget that.

When everything is safely packed into my car, I can get in and begin driving.

Somehow I keep thinking if I turn real quick, I'll see her smile as if she's sitting in the seat next to me.

But it's empty.

Always emtpy.

I wish I could've given you one ride in my car. At least one.

There's the driveway. I guess the ride wasn't as long as it seemed.

I stumble from the car to the magnolia tree and wrap the blanket in a nest, the way I remember.
Once I am nestled inside, the hot chocolate is sipped as I watch the snow fall. I can hardly see the flakes, it is so dark outside.

Someday if I have a little girl. I'll bring her here to watch the snow with me.

It's getting colder, but the moonlight is finally showing. Just a few more minutes and it will reach this tree.

The pale light filters through thick leaves and I see her face on every ray. I want to cry frozen tears, but my lips are moving.

"I wish I could tell you, mother, how much I really love you."
(c) 2008 S. Harricharan

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wannabe Writer (Fiction Friday)

For Patty Wysong's Fiction Fridays. Go here to read or add to more great fiction: http://pattywysong.blogspot.com/

Fluffy pink pen and composition book in hand, I push on the door and squint through the crack.

There are several rows of black chairs leading up to the pulpit. Most of the rows have people in them.

I can’t believe I’m late.

I thought I had plenty of time to get here.

The speaker’s voice floats through the crack.

I might as well go in. I slip through the door and duck down in the back.

No one seems to have noticed me. Yet.

Notebook open, I position my pen on a blank page and wait for the first gem of wisdom.

Our speaker is a renowned speaker and writer and today he will be teaching us how to write our very own novel.

My pen is flying across the page as he lists the most important things for every writer to do. I have always wanted to be a famous novelist, or at least a good columnist like Jamie Barker.

Write everyday, learn grammar, increase vocabulary and attend classes. I pause. That sounds like a lot to do just to write a story.

The lady next to me frowns. “My dear,” She whispered. “You don’t have to take notes for such trivial things.”

I make a mental note to research trivial. It must have something to do with that IQ test I failed. If I don’t write something down, it doesn’t make sense at all.

The class continues.

Now we are going to do writing exercises.

Mr. Famous Speaker is spouting off clever tricks with sentences and spreadsheets.

I hate spreadsheets.

Little scrolls and doodles adorn the edges of my earlier list. My ears are stuffy and my eyes are tired. I shall drown in boredom.

Before I know it I am fast asleep.

I know this, because someone took it upon themselves to wake me as the class ended.

A young woman with eyes too bright and a concerned smile, her lips move to speak. “Are you all right?” She has perfect chocolate-colored tresses that cascade down her shoulders, appearing more like an actress than a writer-wannabe.

I nod carefully, checking to be sure I have everything with me. “Just fine.” I tuck my notebook under one arm and my fluffy pen in my ponytail. “Thank you.”

I am almost to the door before she calls me.

“It is not that hard.”

The scent of jasmine surrounds me as I turn to see her again. There is no one else in sight, so I assume the remark was intended for me.

She laughs. “I saw you come in.” She nudged me out the door. “Writing isn’t just roses and book signings. It takes time, patience and a good bit of work.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Are you a novelist?”

She hesitated. “No.” I smiled politely and started down the hall. “But I am a writer.”
Her voice traveled down the hall and tugged on me one last time. “Writing means you’re willing to put some effort into the whole mix. It means writing something even when you don’t feel like. Changing things to fit another’s instructions and keeping your promises.”

I try to think of polite way to tell her that I don’t need her advice. “I uh, appreciate your advice, Miss-”

“Barker.” She tucks a business card inside my jacket pocket. “Jamie Barker. I’m not a novelist, but I would say that I can write a little something.” She smiles. “Look me up when you’re ready to start small. Trying to write something big can be overwhelming, but working your way up to it, is much easier.”

Her hand lingered on my shoulder, with one last smile before she started down the hall.

I watched her go as the familiar, funny feeling starts in my stomach. The kind of feeling where you’re trying so hard to do something before Mom stops by to inspect. She shakes her head and starts rearranging. “Oh honey, that’s not the way to do it, try this way.” And before you can protest, she’s fixed it. You’re about to complain until you realize that she’s made sense from your senseless tangle of whatever.

The business card seemed to shimmer, wavering and I jammed it into my jeans pocket. I pictured my pride as a wad of licorice and grimaced swallowing the imaginary lump. “Miss Barker? Miss Barker, wait up!”

(c) 2008 S. Harricharan
www.freewebs.com/sjdh

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mineera's Test(Fiction Friday)

It meant that I hadn’t done much of anything. Anything…useful, I mean. Sure, I’d gone to the beach with friends. Bought the cute outfits, went to the summer parties and studied for the last test of my life.

But I hadn’t done anything useful…really. You see, at the end of summer, I’ll have to take that test. It’s an experience to remembered, for some, or an ordeal that wrenches out the child in you, replacing it with mold of the mature, responsible individual you are destined to be for life.

When summer is over, I will be a young woman, capable of duty over conscience and life over love. The choice is not mine to make, or I daresay I wouldn’t chose it at all. What a strange girl I must be, to want to be young forever and never grow up.

Summer is over and tonight is my test.

I hope I pass.

*****
“…and in conclusion of your success, I bestow upon you, the gift of powers that we hand down. All in agreement, rise.”

The assembly rose as one, murmurs of agreement floating upwards to seal the ceremony.

“Thank you, you may be seated.” Elder Garun bowed. “Mineera, you are no longer a child as this mantle becomes yours.” He draped a soft, green sash around her shoulders.

From his waist, he drew a pouch and released a shimmering bauble. The sparkle of energy hovered up and directly above the new candidate, before melting completely into her.

The green shimmer enveloped her figure, as the necessary jewelry materialized on her hands, feet and neck. Each piece, a band of delicate flowered gold with a jade in the center.

Elder Garun smiled. “Congratulations, Mineera. We welcome and honor you as a woman in our society. Take up your mantle as a gifted healer.”

Mineera rose before the assembly, her arms hung limp, her toes wiggled. She offered a tentative smile.

The shining face of an older woman greeted her at the edge of the stage. Tears of joy ran their course down her weathered cheeks. Her arms were open, her mouth smiling. Similar jewelry adorned her neck, wrists and ankles. The healing energy within glowed a bright green.

Elder Garun nudged the new healer forward. “It is your mother, Mineera. You may not remember her now, for the years have flown. But, her love has not changed, I assure you, I am sure she is proud of you. Go-join her, the right is now yours.”

(c) 2008